The 8th annual Love Will Save the Earth TV Special – the 7th with Tezuka involvement – is one of the oddest of them all!
Akuma Shima no Prince – Mitsume ga Tōru. The Three-Eyed One: The Prince of Devil Island. August 25, 1985. 85 minutes; 10:00 p.m. – midnight. Original idea by Osamu Tezuka. Story development by Yugo Serizawa. Screenplay by Haruya Yamazaki. Music by Kazuo Otani.
The Three-Eyed One: The Prince of Devil Island was NOT produced by Tezuka Productions, but by Tōei Dōga. I don’t know why. The Osamu Tezuka In English website says: “Tezuka Osamu was in charge of only the original story and a synopsis for animation. […] More emphasis was placed on entertainment factors than on theme, and this change in the concept line resulted in the withdrawal of Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd. from this series.” Despite this statement, Tezuka Productions produced the final two “Love Will Save the Earth” TV animated movies.
Dr. Tezuka said the Three-Eyed One, Sharaku Hosuke, was his version of Sherlock Holmes crossed with Elmer Fudd. (That’s what he said. Often.) He was a high-school student who looked like a particularly stupid kindergarten student. Everybody picked on him. BUT! When he took off the bandage over his forehead and opened his third eye, he became an arrogant, cruel super-genius (I.Q. 300) who tried to conquer the world. Then, everybody was sorry! His companion was an older high-school girl, Chiyoko Watt (or Watō), the local Shinto priest’s daughter; a sort-of babysitter/surrogate mother who, when things got really desperate, took off the bandage over his third eye so he could deal with it, then scrambled to replace the bandage before he took over the world. Watt was addressed Japanese-style as Watt-san, and Sharock (with the Japanese l-r confusion) followed by Wattsan was a running gag.
Another running gag in the weekly manga, serialized in Manga Shōnen (which means literally Boys’ Comics) from July 1974 through March 1978 (later collected into thirteen tankōbon volumes), was that the Easter Island statues were constantly plotting to jump up & down on Ludwig van Beethoven. Despite not being able to read a word of Japanese, I often laughed so hard that I almost fell over; especially the time that Sharaku was shot between the eyes (Tezuka’s attempt to end the series), stepped outside of the comic, went to Tezuka’s office, and beat him up until he agreed to start the comic again. You had to see it to really appreciate it. (Tezuka also wrote slit-your-wrist adult tragedies, like Tell It to Adolf, his Third Reich drama. They were not animated during Tezuka’s lifetime.)
Quoting the plot synopsis from several anime websites, all of which are taken from Tezuka Pro’s Tezuka Osamu in English: “Based on the original manga, “Easter Island: Sea voyage”, Sharaku and Wato investigate a mysterious old ship, only to find themselves getting involved in a sea voyage around strange islands.” It was the first of the Tezuka Pro TV Specials that was shorter than 90 minutes, at only 85 minutes.
Instead, here is the Mitsume ga Tōru/The Three-Eyed One TV series; 48 half-hour episodes, October 18, 1990 to September 26, 1991. Tezuka (1928-1989) was dead by then, but it was produced by Tezuka Productions. The TV series, directed by Hidehito Ueda, started out with a mysterious three-eyed woman entrusting the infant Sharaku to Prof. Kenmochi, just before being disintegrated by lightning (apparently).
Kenmochi, bewildered, nevertheless raises Sharaku as his own son. Sharaku grows up to exhibit the third eye, which makes him super-intelligent but super-arrogant, with the power to control the Red Condole. (?) When this first happens, he is too infantile to use his power intelligently; and Prof. Kenmochi quickly learns that if he slaps a bandage over the third eye to close it, Sharaku reverts to a more-or-less normal child. He meets other neighborhood residents, notably Chiyoko Watt, an older high-schooler; and an old man (the friend of Prof. Kenmochi) who runs the Rairai-ken ramen noodle shop where he is a delivery boy. As a teenager who looks like a bald kindergartener with a big bandage on his forehead, Sharaku enters the high school where Chiyoko Watt (Watt-san) is already a student.
The first nine episodes are stand-alones, introducing Kido the school bully and his gang, and Chief Unmei (Beethoven) of the police. (Tezuka was creating a serious manga biography of Beethoven when he died.) Then at #10 they begin a serialized, hopefully coherent, semi-drama about where Sharaku comes from that ties together ancient aliens, the Easter Island statues, flying saucers, lost continents, forgotten civilizations, the Loch Ness Monster, the extinct Moa (which, according to Tezuka, could fly by jet-propelled super-farting), and more! Plus Osamu Tezuka himself as a high-school student, and such Tezuka Stars as Higeoyaji as the proprietor of the ramen restaurant, Kin Sakaku as King Kong Kang, nightclub owner and arms merchant, Kiriko as a killer-for-hire, Skunk Kusai, Garon, and more. (Note the statue of the President of the SuperLife Center from Baghi as the school principal in #1.) Would any American TV cartoon put the night-club sequence in episode #10 into a children’s show? Ren & Stimpy, maybe. YouTube & Viki have all 48 episodes, which gradually grow more dramatic and grimmer.
1. The Three-Eyed One Is Here! I’m Sharaku.
2. Ramen War! An Angry Blow.
3. The Cute Little Babies Are Invaders.
4. Looking for the Missing UFO.
5. Pursue the High-Tech Speeding Car.
6. Are the Pretty Girls a Snake’s Agents?
7. Sharaku is Possessed.
8. A Three-Eyed Dog is Born.
9. The Secret of the Three-Rock Mountain.
10. No Kidding!? Sharaku is a Devil?
11. Protect My Treasure!
12. Protect the Underground Capital!
13. Protect the Third Eye!
14. Space Power Explodes!
15. Psychic Power vs. Super Magic.
16. The Legendary Monster is Discovered!
17. School Entrance Examinations and Peace!?
18. The Mysterious Bird Called a Moa!!
19. The Ancient Devil Awakened.
20. Open Your Mind, Ancient Devil.
21. 3, 2, 1, Bang.
22. Challenge of Ozuma, the Mysterious Thief.
23. The Messenger from Ancient Times. (Mystery of the Three-Eyed Family, part 1)
24. Secret Under the Bottom of the Lake. (Mystery of the Three-Eyed Family, part 2)
25. The Search for the Treasure. (Mystery of the Three-Eyed Family, part 3)
26. The Secret Mission. (Mystery of the Three-Eyed Family, part 4)
27. Sharaku in Wonderland.
28. The Villain Bumpuku Appears.
29. Another Sharaku. (Ancient Prince Godai, part 1)
30. Search for the Ultimate Weapon! (Ancient Prince Godai, part 2)
31. Activate Gomora! (Ancient Prince Godai, part 3)
32. The Earth Hijacking Plan. (Ancient Prince Godai, part 4)
33. Get Back the Soul! (Ancient Prince Godai, part 5)
34. Bumpuku Reappears.
35. The Seven Pillars Appear! (Wearied Plant Bolbocc, part 1)
36. Moegi, the Mysterious Girl. (Wearied Plant Bolbocc, part 2)
37. The Shadow Lurking Underground. (Wearied Plant Bolbocc, part 3)
38. The Land Starts to Move. (Wearied Plant Bolbocc. Part 4)
39. Showdown: Sharaku vs. Bolbocc! (Wearied Plant Bolbocc, part 5)
40. The Monkey Speaks! (The Easter Island Voyage, part 1)
41. Landing on Devil Island. (The Easter Island Voyage, part 2)
42. The Marriage of Pogo and Sharaku? (The Easter Island Voyage. part 3)
43. Goodbye, Pogo. (The Easter Island Voyage, part 4)
44. Going After the Moa.
45. The Big Battle Over the Mexican Sky.
46. The Plan to Assassinate the Moa.
47. Super Bolbocc is Revived!
48. Farewell, Sharaku Hosuke – a Pledge for Tomorrow.
Baghi in 1984 seems to have been the last of the annual Tezuka Pro Love Will Save the Earth TV Specials that was really popular. The Three-Eyed One apparently never had a VHS video release. Reader Bob Misette led us to copy on You Tube (embed below) so you can judge for yourself. The 48 TV episodes are more interesting. Border Planets had a VHS release but no DVD that I can find. The Osamu Tezuka Story, the final one, has a DVD release but, judging by the lack of publicity for it on Amazon.jp, it is apparently not worth advertising.